After a fun day in Portland and an incredibly beautiful drive to southern Oregon, I was looking forward to exploring more of the area around Medford.
I chose to spend my morning hiking Lower Table Rock. The Upper and Lower Table Rocks are a pair of mesas a few miles outside of Medford. I chose the latter due to the longer and slightly more challenging trail.
Obviously, based on my persistence in Portland, it takes more than a little rain to derail my plans, so I set out on a dreary and drizzly morning.
As I began the hike, I felt like I entered another world. The pale green moss-covered trees made for a magical, otherworldly landscape as the cool rain continued to fall.
The trail continued with a steady 1.6 mile incline to the top of the mesa. As the trail ascended, the scenery slowly changed. And I was clearly reminded why hiking in Dallas is not nearly adequate preparation for hiking the Inca Trail.
Although much of the trail was wooded, there were moments where the trees opened up to incredible views of Mount McLoughlin, the Siskiyous, and the Cascades in the distance.
Once at the top of the mesa, the remnant of an old airplane strip stretched across the flat top for a mile. Thankfully, the rain had stopped by the time I reached the top, so I could enjoy the views in all directions as I walked to the edge.
Walking the 2 miles roundtrip to reach the southern viewpoint of Lower Table Rock was more than worth it. The view from the edge was breathtaking. And not just because I had been hiking.
Once I descended, I explored the short praireland trail at the bottom of the mesa before heading back to the hotel for a relaxing afternoon.
After doing pretty much nothing for the rest of the afternoon, I got ready for dinner with my friend.
That evening, we headed back to Ashland to try Standing Stone Brewing Company. With an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients, the restaurant and brewery was the perfect spot for a delicious dinner. On some nights, there is live music to go along with the craft beer and yummy food.
I even decided to branch out and order a beer. If you know me, this is practically revolutionary. I guess if I’m going to rebel by simply going to Oregon, I might as well go all the way and do something totally crazy like drink a beer. It was surprisingly good and seemed a more appropriate accompaniment to my burger than did wine.
I sadly had to head back to Texas the next day. Since I’ve been back, I have continued to consider the exciting possibility of moving to Oregon. Perhaps by this time next year, I will be eating another meal at Standing Stone Brewery reflecting on the first, impulsive trip I took to Oregon a year earlier. Regardless, from this trip I learned that stepping out of my comfort zone can be rewarding, not everything about my life needs a plan (okay, so I’m not entirely convinced this is true…), and that sometimes the worthwhile things in life require some discomfort along the way.